US truck tonnage slides 2.8% in October

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ARLINGTON, Va. — US truck tonnage fell 2.8% month-over-month in October, but remained stronger than in the same month last year.

The American Trucking Associations’ for-hire truck tonnage index grew 0.5% in September (revised down from the 1.4% initially reported). October’s tonnage was the lowest level since April.

However, when compared to October 2012, US truck tonnage was up 8%, marking the largest year-over-year gain since December 2011. Year-to-date, tonnage is up 5.5%.

“From May through September, the index surged 3.5%, including only one monthly decrease over that period,” said ATA chief economist Bob Costello. “It isn’t surprising for volumes to fall back some after such a good run.”

He added: “Despite October’s month-to-month decrease, we saw a very robust year-over-year increase and I’m seeing some good signs out of the trucking industry that suggests the economy may be a little stronger than we think. Specifically, the heavy freight sectors, like tank truck, have been helping tonnage this year. But in the third quarter, generic dry van truckload freight saw the best quarterly gains since 2010. I view this positively for the economy. I view it positively for trucking. Now, we have to see if it continues.”

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